|Lifeguards on Cola beach, south Goa|
Lifeguards on all Goa beaches
This season has seen a much increased number of lifeguards on the Goa beaches. The major beaches have been patrolled for a few years already, but this season all of the popular beaches, and even some ‘off the beaten track’ ones, are being patrolled as well. The force of lifeguards, more than 500 men strong, dressed in bright red and yellow outfits, with yellow surf rescue boards and red Mahindra lifeguard jeeps are a welcome and noticeable presence on the beaches.
In early December The Miramar beach lifeguard tower turned into a fortress of disgruntled lifeguards demanding the suspension of a senior officer who allegedly had hit one of the lifeguards at the annual party organized by their employer Drishti Special Response Service (DSRS), as well as a salary hike and reduced work hours. This conflict soon grew in to a full fledged strike, with some 300 lifeguards not turning up for work, and bringing lifeguard services on all Goa beaches to an abrupt halt. All of this happened just as the peak season was about to start, and it seemed for a while that the whole thing would come tumbling down just as hoards of tourists were arriving in Goa for the holiday seasons. In the end though, no surprise, the lifeguards surrendered and came back to work. Drishti’s response to their demands was simple, a full page add in the ‘times of India’ looking for 300 new lifeguard recruits.
The many popular Goa beaches attract millions of holiday makers and travellers every year, and each year a number of accidents, and unfortunately a few deaths, happen. Hopefully the presence of trained lifeguards will help a lot to keep this numbers to a minimum and make the Goa beaches as safe as possible. The lifeguards have done a good job so far and have probably saved a few lives this season. And if you ask me, I think they probably deserve that raise.